WHEN you are carrying a lot of weight on your shoulders and days are getting colder at the workplace, it is time for you to quickly get out of town and take that much-needed break.
Never let the stress get under your skin, and you have to take the sad songs and make them better. Just get your beach clothes and gears ready, pack light and head to the nearest beach.
Oh, wait. This is October and not April, right? It is raining everywhere and stinky floods are in all around Metro Manila. What good is a beach when it is raining?
Well, the beach is really not just a beach. It is a whole lifestyle. It is a place where people can get to see things in a new perspective. It is a place where you will never be let down by any circumstances surrounding your life.
I have a really good friend who regularly frequents Boracay to recharge and revitalize. This friend of mine was recently there alone, and I bet the time away from the madness of the city did a lot of good.
Boracay is already too commercialized for my liking, but it still beats the heck out of being here in Metro Manila. It is still a beach with lots of friendly people and where you can still breathe the air.
Anyway, there are a lot beaches in the country where you can go to at any given point in time. One of the quickest getaways is the province of La Union, which has now gotten the reputation of being one of the leading surfing destinations in the country.
On October 28 the province will be staging the 11th La Union Surfing Break at the Urbiztondo Beach in the municipality of San Juan. It is the flagship tourism event in the province and has been declared on multiple occasions as the best tourism event in sports and wellness in the country.
Awards maybe one thing but what really awed me was how efficient and effective the Department of Tourism (DOT) Region I is at how it works on projects that, in turn, have directly resulted in increased job opportunities in the province.
Visiting Metro Manila to promote the La Union Surfing Break, DOT Region I Director Martin S. Valera told me that for this year’s staging of the event, their office just appropriated P50,000 for its staging.
He said the three-day event has developed a character of its own, and corporate sponsorships are now pouring in to sustain its staging.
What this all means is that the DOT Region I now has more flexibility in promoting the province and has a bigger chunk of its P14-million budget appropriated elsewhere.
And what is basically happening in the province is that because of tourism, inclusive growth is being felt by its communities. Like a lot of people have been saying, tourism is, indeed, one of the country’s sunshine industries.
Tourism is not slowing down at any point in time. Thanks largely to a sound macroeconomy, the country’s middle class is growing, and there is now more disposable income for travel.
We have reached a point where domestic travel is close to reaching 60 million annually. Yes, 60 million of our population, at one point, has traveled to some parts of the country. That is simply an amazing number.
A small part of that domestic travel and some international tourists are coming to La Union, specifically for the surfing event later this month. Yup, the event has already caught the interest of those living in the United States, Japan, South Korea and Australia.
That is basically good news for La Union, as Valera said residents of the province are now finding employment because of tourism and the buzz surfing has created for the province.
He said those who previously had no jobs have found some form of employment in hotels, resorts and restaurants in the province. Some have also found jobs giving surfing lessons to visitors. This is especially true in San Juan whose 100,000 population largely belong to the C, D and E brackets.
According to Valera, La Union is now basically the surfing capital of the Philippines. It is the place where beginners go to learn how to surf. He termed their province as the school for surfing. It is a breeding ground for surfing. The province, as they say, is the surfing and active lifestyle holiday destination in the country.
Valera said this is what makes them different from Siargao, which, he said, is essentially a place where professional surfers go to compete.
Ranking it, Valera said that, after La Union and Siargao, other surfing destinations in the Philippines are Baler, Zambales, Samar, Davao, Daet and Catanduanes.
And here is the great thing about going to La Union. Discounting gas consumption or transportation cost, it will only take about P1,400 a day to enjoy the beach and surfing, food, culture and lifestyle the province has to offer.
But that amount, if I understood Valera, might just be a bit bloated, especially for someone like me, who really does not drink beers and alcohols. You see, according to Valera, tourists going to the province, especially during the La Union Surfing Break, spend P500 daily on alcohol.
For this year’s La Union Surfing Break, tourists can enjoy watching surfing competitions for both the long board and the short board. The national surf competition, which will be on its third year, has been dubbed as “Poks Forever,” in honor of the legendary one-legged surfer Ronie “Poks” Esquivel.
Beyond surfing, the three-day event will have lots of great music, wide varieties of food, local arts and crafts, yoga, a bar crawl, weekend market, outdoor spas and day tours in the province.
And maybe, while you are there, you just might get to see Marcus Adoro, hangout and talk to him about life on the beach, surfing and, of course, music. Maybe if you are lucky enough, you can also get to jam with him a bit.
Just remember, the movement you need is on your shoulders.
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Image credits: Rodel Alzona